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Duggan S.,Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology | Leonhardt I.,Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology | Hunniger K.,Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology | Kurzai O.,Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology | And 2 more authors.
Virulence | Year: 2015

Candida albicans is a major cause of bloodstream infection which may present as sepsis and septic shock - major causes of morbidity and mortality world-wide. After invasion of the pathogen, innate mechanisms govern the early response. Here, we outline the models used to study these mechanisms and summarize our current understanding of innate immune responses during Candida bloodstream infection. This includes protective immunity as well as harmful responses resulting in Candida induced sepsis. Neutrophilic granulocytes are considered principal effector cells conferring protection and recognize C. albicans mainly via complement receptor 3. They possess a range of effector mechanisms, contributing to elimination of the pathogen. Neutrophil activation is closely linked to complement and modulated by activated mononuclear cells. A thorough understanding of these mechanisms will help in creating an individualized approach to patients suffering from systemic candidiasis and aid in optimizing clinical management. © 2015 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


Polke M.,Hans Knoell Institute | Hube B.,Hans Knoell Institute | Hube B.,Friedrich - Schiller University of Jena | Hube B.,Jena University Hospital | And 2 more authors.
Advances in Applied Microbiology | Year: 2015

Only few Candida species, e.g., Candida albicans, Candida glabrata, Candida dubliniensis, and Candida parapsilosis, are successful colonizers of a human host. Under certain circumstances these species can cause infections ranging from superficial to life-threatening disseminated candidiasis. The success of C. albicans, the most prevalent and best studied Candida species, as both commensal and human pathogen depends on its genetic, biochemical, and morphological flexibility which facilitates adaptation to a wide range of host niches. In addition, formation of biofilms provides additional protection from adverse environmental conditions. Furthermore, in many host niches Candida cells coexist with members of the human microbiome. The resulting fungal-bacterial interactions have a major influence on the success of C. albicans as commensal and also influence disease development and outcome. In this chapter, we review the current knowledge of important survival strategies of Candida spp., focusing on fundamental fitness and virulence traits of C. albicans. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.


Mayer F.L.,Hans Knoell Institute | Wilson D.,Hans Knoell Institute | Hube B.,Hans Knoell Institute | Hube B.,Universitatsklinikum | Hube B.,Friedrich - Schiller University of Jena
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Systemic infections of humans with the fungal pathogen Candida albicans are associated with a high mortality rate. Currently, efficient treatment of these infections is hampered by the relatively low number of available antifungal drugs. We recently identified the small heat shock protein Hsp21 in C. albicans and demonstrated its fundamental role for environmental stress adaptation and fungal virulence. Hsp21 was found in several pathogenic Candida species but not in humans. This prompted us to investigate the effects of a broad range of different antifungal drugs on an Hsp21-null C. albicans mutant strain. Our results indicate that combinatorial therapy targeting Hsp21, together with specific antifungal drug targets, has strong synergistic potential. In addition, we demonstrate that Hsp21 is required for tolerance to ethanol-induced stress and induction of filamentation in response to pharmacological inhibition of Hsp90. These findings might pave the way for the development of new treatment strategies against Candida infections. © 2013 Mayer et al.


Mehta G.,Aurora University | Ferreira V.P.,University of Toledo | Skerka C.,Hans Knoell Institute | Zipfel P.F.,Hans Knoell Institute | And 2 more authors.
Molecular Immunology | Year: 2014

Complement factor H (CFH) protein is an inhibitor of the alternative pathway of complement (AP) both in the fluid phase and on the surface of host cells. Mouse and human complement factor H-related (CFHR) proteins also belong to the fH family of plasma glycoproteins. The main goal of the current study was to compare the presence of mRNA for two mCFHR proteins in spontaneously developing autoimmune diseases in mice such as dense deposit disease (DDD), diabetes mellitus (DM), basal laminar deposits (BLD), collagen antibody-induced arthrits (CAIA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Here we report for the first time that the CFHR-C mRNA was universally absent in the liver from three strains of lupus-prone mice and in a diabetic-prone mouse strain. The mRNA levels (pg/ng) for CFH and CFHR-B in MRL. -lpr/lpr, at 9. wks and 23. wks were 707.2. ±. 44.4, 54.5. ±. 5.75 and 729. ±. 252.9, 74.04. ±. 22.76, respectively. The mRNA levels for CFH and CFHR-B in NZB/NZW mice, at 9. wks and 54. wks were 579.9. ±. 23.8, 58.8. ±. 1.41 and 890.3. ±. 135.2, 63.30. ±. 9.2, respectively. CFHR-C protein was absent in the circulation of MRL. -lpr/lpr and NZB/NZW mice before and after the development of lupus. Similarly, mRNA and protein for CFHR-C was universally absent in liver and other organs and in the circulation of NOD mice before and after the development of DM. In contrast, the mRNAs for CFH, CFHR-B and CFHR-C were universally present in the liver from mice with and without DDD, BLD and CAIA. The levels of mRNA for CFHR-B in mice with and without BLD were ~4 times higher than the mice with lupus. The complete absence of mRNA for CFHR-C in lupus and diabetic-prone strains indicates that polymorphic variation within the mouse CFHR family exists and raises the possibility that such variation contributes to lupus and diabetic phenotypes. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Ene I.V.,Aberdeen Group | Ene I.V.,Brown University | Brunke S.,Hans Knoell Institute | Brown A.J.P.,Aberdeen Group | And 3 more authors.
Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine | Year: 2014

Fungal pathogens must assimilate local nutrients to establish an infection in their mammalian host. We focus on carbon, nitrogen, and micronutrient assimilation mechanisms, discussing how these influence host-fungus interactions during infection. We highlight several emerging trends based on the available data. First, the perturbation of carbon, nitrogen, or micronutrient assimilation attenuates fungal pathogenicity. Second, the contrasting evolutionary pressures exerted on facultative versus obligatory pathogens have led to contemporary pathogenic fungal species that display differing degrees of metabolic flexibility. The evolutionarily ancient metabolic pathways are conserved in most fungal pathogen, but interesting gaps exist in some species (e.g., Candida glabrata). Third, metabolic flexibility is generally essential for fungal pathogenicity, and in particular, for the adaptation to contrasting host microenvironments such as the gastrointestinal tract, mucosal surfaces, bloodstream, and internal organs. Fourth, this metabolic flexibility relies on complex regulatory networks, some of which are conserved across lineages, whereas others have undergone significant evolutionary rewiring. Fifth, metabolic adaptation affects fungal susceptibility to antifungal drugs and also presents exciting opportunities for the development of novel therapies. © 2014 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. All rights reserved.


Mayer F.L.,Hans Knoell Institute | Wilson D.,Hans Knoell Institute | Hube B.,Hans Knoell Institute | Hube B.,Universitatsklinikum | Hube B.,Friedrich - Schiller University of Jena
Virulence | Year: 2013

The polymorphic fungus Candida albicans is a member of the normal human microbiome. In most individuals, C. albicans resides as a lifelong, harmless commensal. Under certain circumstances, however, C. albicans can cause infections that range from superficial infections of the skin to life-threatening systemic infections. Several factors and activities have been identified which contribute to the pathogenic potential of this fungus. Among them are molecules which mediate adhesion to and invasion into host cells, the secretion of hydrolases, the yeast-to-hypha transition, contact sensing and thigmotropism, biofilm formation, phenotypic switching and a range of fitness attributes. Our understanding of when and how these mechanisms and factors contribute to infection has significantly increased during the last years. In addition, novel virulence mechanisms have recently been discovered. In this review we present an update on our current understanding of the pathogenicity mechanisms of this important human pathogen. © 2013 Landes Bioscience.


Mayer F.L.,Hans Knoell Institute | Wilson D.,Hans Knoell Institute | Jacobsen I.D.,Hans Knoell Institute | Miramon P.,Hans Knoell Institute | And 3 more authors.
PLoS Pathogens | Year: 2012

Candida albicans is the most frequent cause of oral fungal infections. However, the exact pathogenicity mechanisms that this fungus employs are largely unknown and many of the genes expressed during oral infection are uncharacterized. In this study we sought to functionally characterize 12 previously unknown function genes associated with oral candidiasis. We generated homozygous knockout mutants for all 12 genes and analyzed their interaction with human oral epithelium in vitro. Eleven mutants caused significantly less epithelial damage and, of these, deletion of orf19.6656 (DUR31) elicited the strongest reduction in pathogenicity. Interestingly, DUR31 was not only involved in oral epithelial damage, but in multiple stages of candidiasis, including surviving attack by human neutrophils, endothelial damage and virulence in vivo. In silico analysis indicated that DUR31 encodes a sodium/substrate symporter with 13 transmembrane domains and no human homologue. We provide evidence that Dur31 transports histatin 5. This is one of the very first examples of microbial driven import of this highly cytotoxic antimicrobial peptide. Also, in contrast to wild type C. albicans, dur31Δ/Δ was unable to actively increase local environmental pH, suggesting that Dur31 lies in the extracellular alkalinization hyphal auto-induction pathway; and, indeed, DUR31 was required for morphogenesis. In agreement with this observation, dur31Δ/Δ was unable to assimilate the polyamine spermidine. © 2012 Mayer et al.


Mayer F.L.,Hans Knoell Institute | Wilson D.,Hans Knoell Institute | Jacobsen I.D.,Hans Knoell Institute | Miramon P.,Hans Knoell Institute | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Small heat shock proteins (sHsps) have multiple cellular functions. However, the biological function of sHsps in pathogenic microorganisms is largely unknown. In the present study we identified and characterized the novel sHsp Hsp21 of the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans. Using a reverse genetics approach we demonstrate the importance of Hsp21 for resistance of C. albicans to specific stresses, including thermal and oxidative stress. Furthermore, a hsp21Δ/Δ mutant was defective in invasive growth and formed significantly shorter filaments compared to the wild type under various filament-inducing conditions. Although adhesion to and invasion into human-derived endothelial and oral epithelial cells was unaltered, the hsp21Δ/Δ mutant exhibited a strongly reduced capacity to damage both cell lines. Furthermore, Hsp21 was required for resisting killing by human neutrophils. Measurements of intracellular levels of stress protective molecules demonstrated that Hsp21 is involved in both glycerol and glycogen regulation and plays a major role in trehalose homeostasis in response to elevated temperatures. Mutants defective in trehalose and, to a lesser extent, glycerol synthesis phenocopied HSP21 deletion in terms of increased susceptibility to environmental stress, strongly impaired capacity to damage epithelial cells and increased sensitivity to the killing activities of human primary neutrophils. Via systematic analysis of the three main C. albicans stress-responsive kinases (Mkc1, Cek1, Hog1) under a range of stressors, we demonstrate Hsp21-dependent phosphorylation of Cek1 in response to elevated temperatures. Finally, the hsp21Δ/Δ mutant displayed strongly attenuated virulence in two in vivo infection models. Taken together, Hsp21 mediates adaptation to specific stresses via fine-tuning homeostasis of compatible solutes and activation of the Cek1 pathway, and is crucial for multiple stages of C. albicans pathogenicity. Hsp21 therefore represents the first reported example of a small heat shock protein functioning as a virulence factor in a eukaryotic pathogen. © 2012 Mayer et al.


Costa A.C.B.P.,São Paulo State University | Costa A.C.B.P.,Hans Knoell institute | Pereira C.A.,São Paulo State University | Freire F.,São Paulo State University | And 2 more authors.
Mycoses | Year: 2013

Biofilm formation is one of the most important attributes for virulence in Candida species and contributes to increased resistance to antifungal drugs and host immune mechanisms. These features have led to the development of several methodologies to reproduce a sessile community in vitro that can be used to study the development of a biofilm, its interaction with other microorganisms and the environment, and its susceptibility to available antifungal agents and also to search for new therapy strategies. The purpose of this review is to describe the most commonly used methods to study Candida biofilms in vitro, to discuss the benefits and limitations of the different methods to induce biofilm formation, and to analyse the architecture, viability and growth kinetics of Candida biofilms. © 2013 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.


Costa A.C.B.P.,São Paulo State University | Costa A.C.B.P.,Hans Knoell Institute | Pereira C.A.,São Paulo State University | Junqueira J.C.,São Paulo State University | Jorge A.O.C.,São Paulo State University
Virulence | Year: 2013

The Candida genus expresses virulence factors that, when combined with immunosuppression and other risk factors, can cause different manifestations of oral candidiasis. The treatment of mucosal infections caused by Candida and the elucidation of the disease process have proven challenging. Therefore, the study of experimentally induced oral candidiasis in rats and mice is useful to clarify the etiopathology of this condition, improve diagnosis, and search for new therapeutic options because the disease process in these animals is similar to that of human candidiasis lesions. Here, we describe and discuss new studies involving rat and mouse models of oral candidiasis with respect to methods for inducing experimental infection, methods for evaluating the development of experimental candidiasis, and new treatment strategies for oral candidiasis. © 2013 Landes Bioscience.

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